Advancement on Thermal Comfort in Educational Buildings: Current Issues and Way Forward

Giulia Lamberti, Giacomo Salvadori, Francesco Leccese, Fabio Fantozzi, P.M. Bluyssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


The thermal environment in educational buildings is crucial to improve students’ health and productivity, as they spend a considerable amount of time in classrooms. Due to the complexity of educational buildings, research performed has been heterogeneous and standards for thermal comfort are based on office studies with adults. Moreover, they rely on single dose-response models that do not account for interactions with other environmental factors, or students’ individual preferences and needs. A literature study was performed on thermal comfort in educational buildings comprising of 143 field studies, to identify all possible confounding parameters involved in thermal perception. Educational stage, climate zone, model adopted to investigate comfort, and operation mode were then selected as confounding parameters and discussed to delineate the priorities for future research. Results showed that children often present with different thermal sensations than adults, which should be considered in the design of energy-efficient and comfortable educational environments. Furthermore, the use of different models to analyse comfort can influence field studies’ outcomes and should be carefully investigated. It is concluded that future studies should focus on a more rational evaluation of thermal comfort, also considering the effect that local discomfort can have on the perception of an environment. Moreover, it is important to carefully assess possible relationships between HVAC systems, building envelope, and thermal comfort, including their effect on energy consumption. Since several studies showed that the perception of the environment does not concern thermal comfort only, but it involves the aspects of indoor air, acoustic, and visual quality, their effect on the health and performance of the students should be assessed. This paper provides a way forward for researchers, which should aim to have an integrated approach through considering the positive effects of indoor exposure while considering possible individual differences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10315
Number of pages28
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Educational buildings
  • Energy consumptions
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Local discomfort
  • Thermal comfort


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